Thursday, March 22, 2012

22/03/2012 The Curieuse Vote

The huts have been named. This is a big deal. And apparently it has been a long time coming. The Curieuse Cafe – the kitchen – was easy to name. The Bommie – the communal area – obvious. Infact, most camp features have a name: Drop Off – the toilet, Whitetip Workout – the ‘gym’, Polyp Playground – the volleyball pitch, Divers Den – the kit room, Staff House – the staff house (Snakes on a Plane). But the huts – where the volunteers sleep – have been called (for THREE YEARS), inspiringly, hut 1 and hut 2. So we put it to the vote.

And boy, what a vote. Never before have 18 people been so divided. Never before has a vote been so violently opposed. Such a quiet, reserved, softly spoken group became rowdy, unruly and aggressive in the face of the ballot box. There was heckling. There was a questioning of values. “That’s not in the spirit of GVI!” someone cried. “I should have worked the stats.” someone chastised. “It makes me think of Paris Hilton!” someone else wailed (all will become clear).

We were invited to vote once, and the top two names were to be selected. The options were pretty varied. Some had been suggested just to make up numbers - dangerous play in a vote: Mangrove Mansion; Hawksbill Hut; Crab Shack; Nudi Colony; Curieuse Cottage; Shark Shack; Crusty Crab: and Leper Lodge (the island used to be a leper colony) were among the well as Hilton and Marriott.

We all thought there’d be a clear winner. Well, I thought there’d be a clear winner. I wanted to live in Leper Lodge. But the outsider won, the anomaly, the underdog. Hilton and Marriott. There was uproar. Outrage. Shouts of ‘Vito!’. Until The Compromise of all compromises. The saviour that was Hawksbill Hilton and Coco de Marriott. The relief was immense. Calmness was restored. We just have to make the signs now. And have an official opening ceremony (with ribbon and champagne please).

In other news, there has been a Coco de Mer survey and TWO wurtles this week. A wurtle is a turtle walk in which we search for turtle nesting activity. As we said in last week’s blog, the terrestrial volunteers have left but the terrestrial projects still require occasional trips. A Coco de Mer survey involves forging a path through the island jungle and measuring all the Coco de Mer trees found. This includes males, females, seedlings and juvenilles. And involves counting new and dead leaves, and measuring girth, height, flowering catkins and nuts (depending if it’s male or female). The first wurtlers returned in a state of excitement having found 72 hatchlings! We’re at the end of the season too, so such a high number was quite unexpected. The second wurtlers (the newbies) set off (at 7.30am) with high expectations. But returned, sadly, with no luck on the hatchling front. We learnt how to identify the surface sand feature indicating eggs below, but in the holes we dug, we found only shells. Despite the disappointment, the walk to the other side of the island was beautiful; past giant tortoises, mangrove swamps, through shallow water every shade of blue and across the brightest, whitest sand imaginable.

The weather’s calmed down this week and it’s been hot. I can’t remember when it last rained. The diving’s been good and the cooking’s been Cordon Bleu. We even had chicken pie last week. That was a treat. We also had curry three meals in a row. That wasn’t such a treat. We are very, very excited about this Friday. Partly because it’s the Curieuse Charitable Trust fundraising 11.5km treasure hunt ( and partly because we get to order take-away pizza from the nearest island (Praslin) at the end of the day. Read the special blog about the fundraiser. And read next week’s blog to see if the pizza shop delivers.. ......